Modine Meadows

This section of the Amargosa Canyon was named for the homestead of Andrew Daniel Modine (née Moden) who settled in and worked the area. After joining his father at the homestead, Alexander Modine married Zella Vonola Fairbanks, youngest daughter of Ralph "Dad" Fairbanks.

In Modine Meadows, looking back towards the SwampOnce out of the Swamp or the "Bowl", the area opens up and the descent eases. The hills to the east recede and the trail passes a well constructed corral set against the side of a hill. On the first walk through this area, we wondered if it was still in use as no animals were seen.

The roadbed is now partly covered with brush in many areas. Even allowing for the necessary detours around the growth, the walking becomes easier and quicker. Turning around and looking back gives an idea of the width of the canyon at this point, some four times wider than in Long Valley.

In general, the roadbed in the northern and central section of Modine Meadows is only a few feet above the surrounding land.
 

Modine Meadows from atop the mesa

One of the hiking trails from China Ranch offers an overlook of this area.

Git a long (horn) little dogieMuch of this area was crossfenced and used for livestock. At the time of our first walks, with the fences down, the livestock roamed through the area at will. In 2000, they were removed from Amargosa Canyon.

Some of the best grazing - at least to them - may be found in the wide muddy places at the bottom of the Amargosa Canyon. Here the river has continued to cut away at the land.

Flash floods scour away the riverbed, toppling parts of the sidewalls and then leave behind fresh deposits of silty material that forms into muddy growing areas.

In an 'enclosure' are the remains of a watering trough made from a 55 gallon drum and a partial roll of Barbed Wire.
 

Livestock fence across roadbedWatering the livestock

 

Maintaining the grade as the river drops awayAs the Amargosa River squeezes into a narrowing section, it drops away quickly. Here the river has cut deep into the land and its sidewalls are sheer faces, often 30 feet high.

Access to the Amargosa in this area and around Morrison is very limited. Because of ongoing erosion, these walls are not very stable and are undermined in many areas.

As there is always a small stream flowing through the Amargosa River's channel, the growth in the bottom of the riverbed is quite lush. In some places [Page 8] you might forget that you are in the middle of the desert.

Just around the bend - Morrison!After taking a fairly straight run through Modine Meadows, the Tonopah & Tidewater maintains its higher level through a section of cuts and fills.

The eastern slopes have come down to the river at this point and numerous washes threatened the railroad.

After about 1/2 mile of this undulating landscape, a final long left bend heads the railroad for the townsite of Morrison.

There's no place to leave the trail here, but it is only about a quarter mile to China Ranch Wash.

 

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01/25/2005